Role Playing Tips - By Johnn Four
5 TIPS TO CREATING A TRULY EVIL VILLIAN
I have the opportunity of turning an NPC that the characters
recently met in my campaign into a villain. And, upon
thinking of how I would do this, I decided that I would
style her after one of the truly, most evil, real life
villains I know: the mosquito.
Specifically, here are the traits of the mosquito which my
villain will use to drive my players insane:
1. Numerous, non-lethal attacks.
My new villain does not have the resources to completely
wipe out the character party and still keep her other plots
and plans going. So, like the mosquito, she is going to use
many non-lethal attacks upon exposed areas to drive the
characters as far away as possible.
Examples of her intended attacks?
- Use her minions to destroy weaker allies (i.e. those 0
level villagers the characters seem to love so much)
- Attack the henchmen so the party must carry its own stuff
- Prevent the PCs from getting rest (and therefore healing)
at night (i.e. strange noises, ambushes, forest fires...)
2. Expected surprise attacks.
Meaning, the players will know she's out there, but they
won't know when or where her next attack will be until she's
already drawn a pint of blood.
- Bribe immoral villagers and friends to betray the PCs
- Spread nasty rumours about the characters so they cannot
convalesce in nearby villages or towns (i.e. they carry
the plague, murderous troublemakers, seeking young
daughters for wives)
- Send sneaky minions to poison the PCs food
- Endear herself to the PCs' friends and family
3. Make the PCs do things they don't want to.
How many of us enjoy slopping on Off! and other chemicals?
Or what about sitting inside behind screen doors on hot
My villain is going to earn the party's eternal enmity just
by forcing them to change their plans, modify their behavior
and do things they don't want to.
- Block paths and roads with fallen trees
- Flood the PCs' village by damming a nearby river
- Cause the PCs to post extra guards at night
- Make the PCs check all food and provisions for
4. Create an annoying itch afterwards.
Imagine how you would feel if your worst enemy performed
some heroic deed and saved your friends and all you heard
from them forever after is how "so and so is such a great
person" and how "so and so is so brave and beautiful"?
What would you do if you found that your trusty steed has
been permanently marked or branded with insults about you,
in bright white paint on its rump?
It wouldn't take much for my villain to cast a single spell
and shape the stone of a local mountain into a likeness of
herself to remind everybody how great she is. That would
5. Lethal danger to the PCs without risk to the villain.
Mosquitoes potentially carry deadly diseases. That element
of risk turns them into true villains. And, so what if you
kill one? There's a thousand more with empty bellies buzzing
It's the same with my new villain. She has a small horde of
minions whose lives she is perfectly willing to throw away.
She has also done her research and knows that it is against
the morality of the PCs to kill her in cold blood. Her style
is to work in the background and let her flunkies do her
dirty work. This means she can live in the same village as
the PCs, go to the same parties and flaunt her presence
without risk of retaliation. That's evil!
This represents just one style of villain, but I bet it's
one that your players will never forget.
Have more fun at every game!